Sure is good to get that horrible Toronto series out of our system. And because the Twins beat Chicago, we gain a game in the Wild Card. It would be even better if Oakland could muscle up a win over Boston, but it doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen.
Our pitching tonight was excellent. Johnson delivered a great start, lasting 6 strong innings with 7 strike outs and only 2 runs. After Proctor pitched a scoreless seventh, Farnsworth came in for the eighth and immediatly allowed two singles. But he then reared back and touched the high 90s for three straight swinging strike outs. Farnsworth is inconsistent, but when he’s on he’s untouchable. He’s simply been on fire the month of July, posting an ERA of .96. I was surprised to see Rivera pitch the ninth and I wish Torre saved Mo for a save situation. He could’ve tried Villone or Wilson for the final 3 outs. But Torre wanted a quick ninth so Mo jogs in and game’s over.
The offense had a highlight reel night. A-Rod had a good game. After Jeter led off the seventh with a double A-Rod added a double of his own for an RBI and the Yank’s sixth run. Jeter also had a nice night, that double and a triple right after Melky tripled. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen back to back triples (with 2 outs no less!). Speaking of Melky, he was a home run shy of the cycle and also threw out Teixeira trying to turn an RBI single into a double. Speaking of Tex, there’s a guy who hasn’t lived up to the high expectations. He hit 43 and 38 home runs the last two seasons. He also had 144 RBIs last year and a .301 batting average. So far he’s hit the long ball only 14 times and had only 9 at the All-Star break. He’s got an average at .271 and has 61 RBIs. Let’s compare that RBI total to Jeter’s which happens to be 59. Jeter only has 6 home runs and hits from the two spot, but has driven in about the same number of runs as Teixeira, who hits cleanup. I think this says more about how good Jeter is, but it doesn’t make Tex look great either. Basically my point is to provide more evidence that A-Rod is not the only player having an off year. Matter of fact, all of A-Rod’s stats are better than Tex’s. Why doesn’t Tex ever get booed?
So we’ll so how Eaton fares in his season debut tomorrow. He’s got a tough counterpart to match in Mussina. I hope Damon’s back in the lead off spot, but considering how well Melky did today Torre might decide to give Damon another day off.
Great way to win a ballgame. That’s how we’re winning the World Series this year. Game 7 at Yankee Stadium. Bottom of the ninth, down a run. Runner on first base, two outs and Melky’s at the plate with two strikes. We’re playing the Mets so of course Wagner’s on the mound, one strike away from winning the World Series. He tries to throw that slider, but no sir, you can’t fool the Melk Man. Melky Cabrera creams it, crushes it, a tape measure no doubter moon shot. It looks like we had Ruth or Reggie or Mantle back all over again. And Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Yankeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By that time I assume Matsui and Sheffield will be back, so I don’t know why Melky would be in the lineup. But trust me, it’s going to happen. And it will be sweet.
Ponson pitched very well. Sterling was very impressed and gave him the "player of the game" award. Hopefully Ponson can repeat this. Maybe he’ll manage to get that third out next time to make it 7 full innings. 5 hits and 5 Ks is pretty good. He even picked off a baserunner. That home run to Sexson was the only mistake. Too bad there were runners on.
Once again our bullpen was fantastic. Did exactly what they had to, held off the Mariners and gave the offense enough time to score. Villone, Wilson, Farnsworth and Proctor combined for 4 1/3 innings, struck out 4, walked only 1 and allowed only 2 hits. Well done boys.
Hopefully The Unit can seal the deal on a second consecutive sweep. Go Yankees!
Since the Yankees-Red Sox game never happened, I tuned into the Rangers visiting the Royals. The pitching matchup featured two rookies, John Koronka and Bobby Keppel. The 11,000 at Kauffman Stadium actually had something to cheer this lucky evening as Keppel kept Texas scoreless through 8 innings. Young, Teixeira, Blalock and Mench; he kept them all off the board. Why were the baseball gods generous enough on this occasion to descend such a thirst quenching miracle on the dying club in Kansas City? I predicted that once the Royals rang the bullpen the big bats in the Texas lineup would get an inning of batting practice. But until that time, all was well and the Royals were poised to win their 15th game. Until Keppel allowed a single and Buddy Bell brought in the closer. Now, I know Buddy wants to feel like a big league manager, making the call for that dead-end pitcher he’s proud of. He wants to feel like Torre bringing in Mo or La Russa calling for Izzy. He wants to be intoxicated by that deafening buzz of the fans and his secret smile tasting victory because his closer is the best. But when you have a guy on the mound who’s shut down the opposition for 8 innings, you don’t yank him in the ninth just because he allows one baserunner. And especially when your closer has 5 blown saves and allowed 28 hits in 26 innings with an ERA in the high sixes. The whole stadium booed as they smelled the imminent disaster. The disaster that happens at every game in that town. The Royals lead was slim at 2-0 and Ambiorix Burgos was promptly touched for a base hit. Then something happened and there was a runner on third. Then a sac-fly erased the shut out but KC still had a one run lead with two outs. Burgos actually took the next batter Barajas to an 0-2 count, dwarfed on that lonely and bleak mound by 11,000 fans standing and clapping. Maybe that disrupted his concentration. He had never heard the fans cheer so emphatically. It fell mute when Barajas punched a looper over the infield to tie it. Then Buddy summoned Dessens who Gary Matthews Jr. touched for a double for the winning runs. Royals fans were depressed. Bobby Keppel had his first major league win stolen, not saved the way it’s supposed to happen. I don’t think Buddy should’ve yanked Keppel. His pitch count was 99 and yes, the Texas lineup is dangerous, but the Royals bullpen is playing for another team. It’s like the Royals are bipolar and consist of two teams. They have one half scoring runs and defensively protecting those runs while the other half are these guys behind the outfield wall couped up like chickens suffering from mental disturbances due to being alone and talentless who continually fight their rival Royals by blowing hard fought leads. Hopefully Keppel gets another shot in 5 days.
A Mets community blog called Hot Foot quoted my praise for Melky and that fabulous catch he made (in addition to quoting Jacob from Mile High Yankees). First of all, I am honored that my words were quoted and commented on. Anyway, down to business. The author Matt thinks the catch is overrated. The fact that it might be overrated never occured to me and I found his comments interesting. Matt refers to it as a play made by plenty of outfielders every year. This is true as I am accustomed to seeing Griffey, Hunter, Rowand and the likes make it almost weekly. So in terms of uniqueness, Melky isn’t the first to rob a home run. And he isn’t the first to rob a home run in the crucial moments of an important game. I know there are better examples to mention, but the quickest one to mind is Juan Pierre stealing home run 714 from Bonds. What makes the two plays so different? Matt says:
"1. Who expects Melky Cabrera to make a great catch?
2. Robbed Yankee killer Manny Ramirez.
3. He ran and tripped after catching the ball, but still held onto it.
4. It had a big impact on the game."
Reason 4 is why I jumped for joy. I think it’s easy for any non-Yankee fan to see it as overrated for understandable reasons, since it wasn’t perhaps the hardest catch ever made in the outfield and it only benefited the Yankees. But Matt makes clear to me that what boosts Melky’s catch over any other similar catch is the context in which it happened. A 21 year old rookie sprinted back and leaped to rob a Boston Red Sock and "Yankee killer" of a game tieing home run in the 8th inning beneath 50,000 Yankee fans. Big deal? You betcha. It was pure clutch defense at its best. What makes it great was the situation. It saved our lead over the Red Sox. Melky isn’t credited a save statistic like Mariano, but he certainly helped the cause in a big way. Between two last place teams the catch wouldn’t have mattered. The stadium would’ve been half filled and each team a dozen or so games from first place. I also think the manner in which he made the catch makes it great. Many a time those plays have the outfielder waiting at the wall, timing his jump to bring the ball back in. But Melky never stopped running. He didn’t have time to slow down and set himself. As soon as he reached the fence he leaped and fell backward. Anyway, nice post Matt, you made me look at the play in a different light.
For that catch, many big ABs and home plate assists, Melky deserves Rookie of the Year.